Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Still Giving

Still Giving

There will still be a dish full of green olives, doubtless,
            Un-canned and plated, still no one will even touch them.
And a platter just for plump brown giblets, the part of
            The bird that always sat by him, at the table's head.

There will be steadier hands wielding the carving knife    
            His role having morphed of late to cut supervisor
Unsupervised, and carving with less brave precision,
            Without his smiles approving hot stolen sample bites.

There will be a few extra inches around each seat,
            A little more elbow room for lefties flapping wings,
As all scoot out a bit to take up now-barren space,
            His once-hulking presencethen slouched, then wheel-chairednow gone.

There will be less re-told jokes about heaping plates full,
            Fewer appetite-suppressing deviled eggs consumed,
No voice to marvel at his grandchildren's bottomless guts,
            Less belched out comments about this best-ever cooking.

There will be no stories about small town Long Island,
            And fewer proud tales about building, Mickey, Main Streets.
No more hand-split wood brought in from a woodpile out back,
            Stackedculledfrom a felled pine tree in ol' Miss Bibb's backyard.

There will not be garden-walking to plan next year's crop,
            There will not be the zinging comment, "I wonder what
The rich folks ate," prideful, wry: comically ironic;
            No three sneezes signaling a content, full belly.

There will be no passing out, nor recliner-snoring
            As the Cowboys play, as cooks and kids clear the table
And fill stacks of Tupperware, and prepare sandwiches
            Of half-timed pulled turkey on perfect home-baked biscuits.

But there will be Thanksgiving,
                        It still comes,
            For family and our newly passed
            Patriarch; for our new-sensed past.
But there will be savory victuals
                        More than enough,
            Dripping with gravy and butter
            And in gluttonous portions.
But there will be memories,
                        Each more precious,
            And an empty seat in space,
            And in his honor, just a taste
                        of each of the five pies.         

Read more of my poetry, essays, and stories at

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

This First Fourth Year

This First Fourth Year

This year, I promise
To drink a little less gin
            And smoke a little less pot,
And eat fewer fries and less crunchy bacon
when I'm on the road.

This year, I promise
To wipe down the vanity after shaving,
            And the kitchen counter after eating chips,
And to not put near-empty bottles of flat
Tonic back in the fridge.

This year, I promise
To listen to your stories more intently
            And longer before my mind wanders:
To ask what you're thinking and feeling
But not force you to answer if you don't want.

This year, I promise
To control my-trained-to-wander, scoping eyes
            And keep them on you,
The hottest thing in each room I enter
Even when you're not with me.

This year, I promise
To be more content with what we have,
            And to desire more for us, not myself.
Big houses, turbo convertibles, and millions of dollars
Are empty and slow and stupid without you.

This year, I promise
To scratch your palms and back
            And the soles of your feet even after
My arms are tired or I'm bored or thirsty
Or my phone alerts of a Timeline update.

This year, I promise
To match my socks and put them away
            And not just buy new ones each week at the mall.
Same with shirts and shoes and
Jeans and shoes and shoes.

This year, I promise
To stop trying to dress you like a JCrew mannequin.
            And to give you the best of what you want;
You let me dress like a fool and never say a thing.
Your grey t-shirts and cargo shorts are so sexy.

This year, I promise
To stop buying so many scratch-offs and raffle-tix,
            And trading dinner money for false hopes,
To gamble less with our future. I won the lottery already,
The night you first said, "hey buddy."

This year, I promise
To gain five pounds without obsessing
            And accept that I'm balding everywhere but      
My ears and nose, and to know that you won't leave me
Over laugh lines under crow's feet.

This year, I promise
To be less insecure around your hot-as-hell-ex,
            And less jealous of the cats and the herb garden.
I know you love me at least as much as you do them,
And the way you love is plenty, and perfect.

This year, I promise
To not cry so much in public,
            And  not get choked up when you say sweet things
Or innocuous, or mean things or playfully
Sweet, mean things.

All this, I promise,  even in a world full of
Hendrick's, sweet bud, and applewood-smoking,
Housekeepers, Hickory-barbecue Lays, and Canada Dry,
Politics, poetry, and Momentitiousness,
Justin Timberlake, Blake Griffin, and nameless beefy bartenders,
Lakefront bungalows, Audis and un-diversified portfolios,
And Brooks Brothers, and Nike, and Tiffany,
And ESPN, and CNN, and Facebook,
And Hard Rocks, and Paris, and Powerballs,
And Chocolate Turtle Pie, and LAFitness, and Khiels,
And pets, and best friends, and family,

And brief and fleeting moments
When you're angry with me
   Or I'm upset with you:

I promise
To renew these vows each day,
To be better each tomorrow,
Each year and decade,
            Each time I fail,
            Each time I remember
                        How much I love you
     And always will.

Read more of my poetry, essays, and stories at